Santikaro studied with Ajahn Buddhadasa during the last nine years of his life, became his primary translator, and continues to share this “naturalist” approach to Buddha-Dhamma. Ordained as a Theravada Bhikkhu in 1985, Santikaro spent most of his monastic life at Suan Mokkh (southern Thailand). During this time he led Dawn Kiam, a small monastic community for foreigners and was active among socially engaged Buddhists in Asia. He returned to the USA in 2000 and left monastic life in 2004 to found Kevala Retreat (then Liberation Park). His understanding of life has been enhanced by the Enneagram, feminism, cancer recovery, and trauma healing. He continues to teach nationally and internationally, and to translate the work of his teacher. He teaches Buddhism and meditation with an emphasis on the early Pali sources. He has led meditation retreats for more than thirty-five years, with a special fondness for mindfulness with breathing.
Jo Marie Thompson has been studying and practicing in the Buddhist tradition since 1994. With a love of the early teachings, and a strong commitment to women’s approaches to awakening, she attempts to navigate the sometimes rocky terrain between these two worlds. The interweaving paths have found resolution in the work of creating a refuge for lay Buddhist contemplatives at Kevala Retreat. Her path also includes a strong commitment to Jungian inner work and she is currently studying to be a psychotherapist. She lives, works, writes and tends the herd of horses at Kevala Retreat. She is available for spiritual direction and Jungian inner work with a focus on dreams. She is also available to introduce retreatants to the Kevala herd of horses.